2014 Beijing Auto Show – Infiniti Q50
- Q50 Eau Rouge prototype: Iconic heart, Infiniti performance soul
- Prototype project now officially an engineering feasibility study
- Q50 Eau Rouge prototype undergoes testing evaluation programme
- Legendary twin-turbocharged, 3.8-liter V6 petrol engine powers renowned Infiniti luxury and precision
Beijing / Hong Kong – The Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge prototype, with Formula One-inspired carbon fiber aerodynamics outside and undeniable Infiniti luxury inside, has officially become an engineering feasibility study.
Originally a design concept of what a high-performance variant of the Infiniti Q50 premium sports sedan could look like and first revealed at the 2014 NAIAS Detroit Auto Show in January, the Q50 Eau Rouge gets the adrenaline-rushing power its menacing stance demands, ready for the 2014 Beijing Auto Show.
The prototype’s performance figures are already suitably impressive: 568 PS, 600Nm of torque, 100 km/h (60mph) in under four seconds and a 290 km/h (180mph) maximum speed. Searing statistics that have already been tested and evaluated at the Millbrook Proving Ground (UK), one of Europe’s leading technology centres for engineering, test and development in automotive.
"Our Q50 Eau Rouge concept car continues to thrill and excite; first turning heads with its striking design at the Detroit show and then at Geneva with our powertrain reveal, and with our engineers confident that the concept car could become a provocative, high-performance running prototype, while retaining the passion for precision our brand is famous for, the green light to take the concept to the next level was given. Our engineers have been waiting for a project like Eau Rouge,” said Johan de Nysschen, President of Infiniti Motor Company Limited.
“In Beijing we showed evidence of the running prototype testing at full song, and our early evaluation programme has shown great promise. Enthusiastic and committed drivers could expect explosive on-track performance, and an effortlessly sporting yet luxurious character for road use every day,” de Nysschen added.
Infiniti Q50 High-performance heart and soul
The base engine inside the Q50 Eau Rouge is that of the GT-R – an aluminum and magnesium twin-turbo, 24-valve, 3.8-liter V6 powerhouse that is already an icon among sports car fans. For Eau Rouge, with bespoke Infiniti engine mapping, air intake and exhaust, peak engine power is up on GT-R to an exhilarating 568 PS, with engine torque measured at a deeply satisfying 600Nm.
The not insignificant task ahead for the Infiniti engineers is to wrap this powerhouse of an engine in the expected levels of Infiniti comfort, refinement and luxury.
Infiniti Q50 Precision and Formula One-inspired Passion
The Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge prototype – named after the thrilling bend at the Spa-Francorchamps race track – is revealed at the Beijing Auto Show with hundreds of hours of precision development already recorded. With the V6, twin-turbocharged GT-R engine fixed on the original 3.7-liter V6 engine’s mounting points and mated to an Infiniti Q70 seven-speed automatic transmission directly behind it, engine power is sent to all four wheels, equally split between front and rear axles.
Infiniti engineers faced several challenges in these early stages of the mechanical engineering of the Q50 Eau Rouge prototype. The GT-R engine, with a turbocharger on each bank of cylinders and a need for twin oil coolers, a charge-air intercooler and high-performance engine radiator took up more engine bay area than the engine it replaced.
Considered early on was GT-R’s 6-speed transaxle gearbox configuration – with the gearbox packaged above the rear axle to assist with weight balance – but this was discounted due to the desire to retain the generous rear seating area offered by the Q50 sedan. A transaxle gearbox would also demand a larger transmission tunnel to house the required extra propshaft.
While this prototype already delivers the kind of performance statistics to rival any super sports sedan on sale, Infiniti engineers insisted that it must be spacious, luxurious and entirely refined for long, GT-car-style touring. Q50 Eau Rouge’s interior space and refinement sees no incursion from its powertrain.
Infiniti Q50 - The testing story so far – the fastest Formula
The Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge prototype has already benefited from on-track dynamics testing by some of the finest drivers and engineers in the world, at the Millbrook Proving Ground (UK); a leading automotive engineering and development in centre.
As part of the technical partnership between Infiniti and the Infiniti Red Bull Racing Formula One team, the team’s four-time world champion and Infiniti’s Director of Performance, Sebastian Vettel, was involved in the preliminary stages of the prototype’s development at the Millbrook Proving Ground. Vettel, through an Infiniti Red Bull Racing track engineer, provided detailed feedback to Infiniti engineers on handling, high speed stability and braking performance
With Vettel’s priceless feedback and a wealth of track-tested data gathered, the next areas for the development focus for the prototype will be the rear axle differential and suspension tuning. Vettel noted that the Brembo monoblock brake calipers and two-piece discs – also from the GT-R – and the prototype’s acceleration and speed performance were already of the expected high sporting standards.
The Infiniti engineering team is currently evaluating a limited-slip-type rear differential and bespoke Bilstein dampers. The full specifications of these parts are yet to be finalized.
Infiniti Q50 Wind tunnel testing
With the mechanical engineering processes already well underway, the Infiniti engineers, again with the help of their counterparts at Infiniti Red Bull Racing, spent time with the Q50 Eau Rouge prototype in a wind tunnel.
A super-sports-sedan, with a potential maximum speed of 180mph, must master the wind and with its front and rear diffusers already inspired by the Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB9 race car from the 2013 Formula One Season, further aerodynamic tuning in the wind tunnel has already yielded exciting results.
The standard Q50 sports sedan enjoys a ‘zero-lift’ aerodynamic body design and a low coefficient of drag at 0.26Cd. The Q50 Eau Rouge will work the air for even greater high speed stability, cornering downforce, and engine and brake cooling.
To achieve these high-performance aerodynamic goals, the Infiniti engineers and aerodynamics specialists from Infiniti Red Bull Racing measured the current performance of the Q50 Eau Rouge’s bespoke front splitter, noting that even greater cooling of the oil radiators located at each lower corner there could be achieved with minor bodywork modifications. This would benefit internal engine cooling during the high-power demands of race track driving.
Also noted from the first wind tunnel testing session was a potential desire for a greater aero-push over the rear axle, to limit rear wheel slip during full power acceleration runs. Data is still to be gathered but the next evolution of the Q50 Eau Rouge prototype could see the understated trunk lid spoiler grow in size
Infiniti Q50 The next development steps
The Q50 Eau Rouge prototype will continue its testing and development programme after the Beijing Auto Show, with further work to be carried out on track and in the wind tunnel.
The Infiniti engineers will further refine the prototype’s aerodynamic performance, and develop the rear axle and suspension set ups. Computer controlling is not ruled out for the suspension, while initial wind tunnel data has shown that the prototype’s lowered ride height (minus 15mm – 20mm) has benefited under-body airflow. Further bespoke flat surface engineering for the prototype’s underside is also to be evaluated.
Bespoke carbon fiber exterior parts continue to feature extensively on the Q50 Eau Rouge exterior – front and rear splitters, and side sill skirts – while a driver-focused, carbon fiber enhanced cockpit could see bespoke leather and suede race-type Recaro bucket seats.
A decision to take the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge to production is currently under evaluation.